Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | August 25, 2018

Captain E.S. Brand & the St. Lawrence Seaway

Recently a small, but nationally important collection of some 60 maritime artifacts was received by the SD&G Historical Society.

Eric Sydney Brand (1896-?) served in the British and later Canadian military. In July 1939 Captain Brand was loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy as Director of Naval Intelligence. Soon after this appointment, he was also given the responsibility of organizing the Trade Division at Naval Service Headquarters to handle the Royal Canadian Navy’s contacts with the merchant shipping of all nations. He held these two posts until 14 April 1946, when he retired from active service in the rank of Captain. In 1946 he was appointed Controller of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Shipping under the Department of Labour. During 1946-1947 he was special assistant to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply on the drafting of legislation to establish a Canadian Maritime Commission. Brand later served as a special assistant to the Minister of Mines and Resources on immigrant transportation, as Executive Director, the Canadian Maritime Commission, and, finally, as the Director of Marine Operations, Department of Transport.

The donated Coast Guard artifacts belonged to David Lever, a now retired professional sailor. He and his wife Corrina collect Seaway memorabilia. The Auxilliary badges are from Maritimes Region; they were given to David when he was acting as their training officer and as liaison officer from JRCC Halifax. The shoulder board was his as Senior Marine Search and Rescue Controller Halifax Rescue Co-ordination Centre (Now Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre). He served in the Fleet from 1984 to 1986 and 1986 to 2008 at JRCC Halifax and 2008 to 2014 at Search and Rescue HQ Ottawa.

The donated Seaway-related artifacts are a mixture of documents, books and photographs given to Brand during his career, whereas a few drawings were created by Brand himself. The Levers acquired those items from Brand’s son, Christopher. These include some typed speeches of Lionel Chevrier, Seaway maps, and St. Lawrence Power Project Progress booklets.

Among the other interesting artifacts still in the Levers’ possession relate to the opening of the Seaway, including invitations to Captain and Mrs. Brand to attend the opening ceremony and the Prime Minister’s Buffet Dinner in Montreal.

Speaking of the donated artifacts, David Lever commented that: “Corrina and I consider them vital for preservation of Seaway research and memorabilia.” We are grateful that the Levers chose us to preserve this important aspect of our Canadian heritage.


  1. 2019 marks 60 years for the Seaway and 50 since I first sailed up and down it starting 1969 on the SS Manchester Miller and after 1976 on Great Lakes carriers like Halco, Algoma, Upper lakes , and Quebec & Ontario Transportation Ltd.

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